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The Stress Doc Letter
Cybernotes from the Online Psychohumorist (tm)

November 1998, No. 4

Dear Readers. I am reformatting the newsletter as a weekly. At the beginning of each month I will include at least one of my articles and updated info on my speaking programs and workshops. The other weeks will be a gumbo of my writngs and your humor submissions. For more articles on a variety of topics, try these links: www.stressdoc.com or on AOL -- <A HREF="www.stressdoc.com"> STRESSDOC HOMEPAGE</A> or Keyword: Stress Doc, <A HREF="aol://4344:972.doc.1264535.556723207">The Stress Doc @ Online Psych </A> . And here's an AOL link with with series of articles on downsizing, layoffs and career transition, <A HREF="aol://4344:972.docwork.1255066.562088752">The Stress Doc Interview @ Online Psych</A> . (For non-AOLers, these articles can be found on my website under the indexes, "Articles" or "Humor From the Edge.")

With the Thanksgiving holiday just days away, let me share a helpful tip for dealing with the season's poignant dilemma: How to handle holiday blues and holiday stress. And the key is understanding the paradoxical distinction...Now holiday blues is the feeling of loss or sadness that you have when, over the holidays, you can't be with those people who have been or who are special and significant. And holiday stress...is when you have to be with some of those people! ;-)

After an unexpected shower of calls and correspondences from major news organizations, corporations and publications in a two week span, the Stress Doc, his head still shaking, reflects on the significance of this media-rites of passage. Are you ready to start building a professional or business presence in cyberspace?

The Web: Madness or Mistress, Mystery or Mastery? Part I

WWW. For most folks the immediate association is World Wide Web. After these past two weeks there's another meaning: World Wide Weirdness. It started with an early morning call from a producer at ABC-TV news in New York City and seemingly ended with a late night call from a reporter for the LA Times. And in between there were emails and calls from Idaho, New Jersey and Ontario and a phone interview with US News and World Report. I'm still trying to get past my state of shock-elation-bewilderment; to settle down and make sense of my bubbling cauldron of adrenaline from this fairly startling chain of events.

My consultant neighbor says the message and the moral is persistence: "To keep on keeping on." Perhaps I am on the verge of becoming a 20 year overnight success. ;-) Another implication is the potential of the internet for allowing an individual entrepreneur to communicate a message, an image, a database and a service or product line that emerges from the buzzin bloomin cyber confusion of links, URLs and homepages.

The web is helping me compete online and offline with "the big boys (and girls)" as my webmaster put it. (I will soon be writing about my evolution, "From Technophobia to Cybermania: On Becoming a Net Entrepreneur," the topic of a recent talk at an Evolving Electronic Social Work Conference. Until then, email - stressdoc@aol.com - for info about my Online Coaching Program for consultants, educators and entrepreneurs.) In fact, if some of you folks in the allied health field/speaking and training fields don't get websites up, running and promoted, I may suffer the same fate as Microsoft. The government may pursue me for having a webopoly. I'm kidding and my DSM IV Diagnosis is showing - 301.81: Narcissistic Personality Disorder!

But, just when I thought these two weeks couldn't get any weirder, I get a call from a major municipal utility in the Northwest. The administrator inquires about my doing a stress and humor workshop. Twist my arm. But then she parenthetically adds, "There's hardly anyone else promoting these stress and humor programs on the internet." And while I know there are some other groups promoting this mix, the competition isn't always that stiff. A few months back a reporter for the New Haven Register did a telephone interview on the subject of shame. His response to my question, "Why did you call me?," was not uplifting, but was convincing: "Yours was the only website that didn't seem like it was designed by a wacko." (I'm sure my "square genius" webmaster would take umbrage with that judgment.) Again, I ask, "Why should the aformentioned administrator need to call someone 3,000 miles away for service." As long-time readers know, my upgraded motto for the millenium: "Go web young cyber-ite."

Okay, enough of my chatterbrained cybermania. Let me outline "The Two Weeks that Shook the Stress Doc's Virtual Reality." Here's the beginning of a sequence of cyberconnections that has me shaking my head, and also has me believing that '99 may be a breakout year:

1. TV or Not TV? Two weeks ago, at eight in the morning, an Associate Producer at ABC-TV News in New York City calls asking if I can recommend a couple that are dealing with the husband's anger for a next day news show. And it's serious…Barbara Walters is doing the interview. As one client said: "If it was Jerry Springer, I probably would have done it. Who cares if you come across like a schmuck on that show." My second cast into the marital waters was even less successful. I called some old friends from our New Orleans days. Betsy was a bit upset that I thought of them. Her husband, Paul, my best friend and fellow narcissist, naturally, was ready to go. (ABC would fly the couple to "The Big Apple"; put them up in a hotel, all expenses paid. Hey, I'll consider eloping for such a honeymoon deal. The next time ABC calls, any volunteers to be an 11th hour angry mate? ;-)

You know what the weirdest thing about all this was besides ABC-TV locating me on the web? (Actually, my offline anger support group was the search engine billboard that caught their eye.) The truly mind-blowing question in all of this is quite simple: Why the hell was ABC-TV calling Washington, DC? Don't tell me they couldn't find one angry couple in New York!

2. Northern Southern Exposure. The second connection started via email. This total stranger titles her note, "Hiya Darlin," and it's not a come on for a XXX website. As a native of Louisiana she's just "doin a what comes naturally." And the rest of the letter is equally engaging. First, Miss D, shares how she is surveying my website articles for an assignment in a Master's Level Information Technology/Instructional Techniques course. Then she mentions that her company, a major aerospace technology corporation, has lost a big contract and there will be major reorganization. My emailer asks if she can mention my "Practicng Safe Stress" workshops to some execs. And she provided both email address and home and work phone numbers.

This one merited a phone call…even if it was practically across the country in Idaho. I wasn't prepared for what followed. Miss D had just used some of my articles for a live classroom presentation on burnout. Having this woman with her southern accent, the charm oozing through the receiver, walk me through highlights of her presentation with that playful and sultry delivery, proclaiming to the class that I was her mentor…Well this was a hoot beyond words. I'll keep you posted. ;-). And I'll complete the storied fortnight next time. Until then...Practice Safe Stress!

The Stress Doc Newsletter The Higher Power of Humor Section...

The second section will consist of humor material that filters down from cyberspace. The first, "Family Stress Test," is an oldie but goodie. The second piece speaks for itself. Also, try the closing pics from Miss Pastel. Seek the higher power of humor...May the Farce Be with You!

Family Stress Test From: MissPastel

How to score: 0 if the statement is never true, 1 if it is rarely true, 2 if it is sometimes true, and 3 if it is always true.

1. ___ Conversations often begin with "Put the gun down, and then we can talk".

2. ___ The school principal has your number on speed-dial.

3. ___ The cat is on Valium.

4. ___ People have trouble understanding your kids, because they learned to speak through clenched teeth.

5. ___ You are trying to get your four-year-old to switch to decaf.

6. ___ The number of jobs held down by family members exceeds the number of people in the family.

7. ___ No one has _time_ to wait for microwave TV dinners.

8. ___ "Family meetings" are often mediated by law enforcement officials.

9. ___ You have to check your kid's day-timer to see if he can take out the trash.

10.___ No-Doze gives you bulk rates.

How you rate:

30 - a perfect score. Welcome to the neighborhood! 20-29 - You are doing reasonably well, but still have too little going on in your life. Crank it up. 10-19 - You have mastered some of the aspects of the stress-filled life, but still have a long way to go. Have you considered a parallel career path? 0- 9 - Enjoying all that extra time? What do you do anyway?

Spiritual Reality From: SWells1835

Ed. Note: As an ex-Noo Yorka, I couldn't resist this one.

A minister dies and is waiting in line at the Pearly Gates. Ahead of him is a guy who`s dressed in sunglasses, a loud shirt, leather jacket, and jeans. Saint Peter addresses this guy, "Who are you, so that I may know whether or not to admit you to the Kingdom of Heaven?"

The guy replies, "I`m Joe Cohen, taxi-driver, of Noo Yawk City."

Saint Peter consults his list. He smiles and says to the taxi-driver, "Take this silken robe and golden staff and enter the Kingdom of Heaven."

The taxi-driver goes into Heaven with his robe and staff, and it`s the minister`s turn. He stands erect and booms out, "I am Joseph Snow, pastor of Saint Mary`s for the last forty-three years."

Saint Peter consults his list. He says to the minister, "Take this cotton robe and wooden staff and enter the Kingdom of Heaven."

"Just a minute," says the minister. "That man was a taxi-driver, and he gets a silken robe and golden staff. How can this be?"

"Up here, we work by results," says Saint Peter. "While you preached, people slept; while he drove, people prayed."

And for those feeling like they can't take it any more, here is some visual relief:

From: MissPastel

<A HREF="http://www.holidayproductions.com/stress.html">Anti-stress kit</A> or http://www.holidayproductions.com/stress.html

and

<A HREF="http://home.pix.za/mk/mk53/9603.htm">A typical day at your computer </A> or http://home.pix.za/mk/mk53/9603.htm

And, of course...Practice Safe Stress!

Mark Gorkin, "The Stress Doc," Licensed Clinical Social Worker, is a nationally recognized speaker, workshop leader and author on stress, reorganizational change, anger, team building, creativity and humor. He is also the internet's and the nation's leading "Psychohumorist." The Stress Doc is a columnist for the popular cyber-newsletter, Humor From The Edge . Mark is also the "Online Psychohumorist" for the major AOL mental health resource network, Online Psych and Financial Services Journal Online -- http://fsc.fsonline.com/fsj . And he is an offline writer for two mental health/substance abuse publications -- Treatment Today and Paradigm Magazine. His motto: Have Stress? Will Travel: A Smart Mouth for Hire! Reach "The Doc" at (202) 232-8662, email: Stress Doc@aol.com, or check out his "Hot Site" website: http://www.stressdoc.com . (The site was selected as a USA Today Online "Hot Site" and designated a four-star, top-rated site by Mental Health Net.)

(c) Mark Gorkin 1998 Shrink Rap Productions